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Cablevision Renews Support For Bronx PEG Programmer

With a new Bronx, N.Y., franchise close at hand, Cablevision Systems has reached a new agreement to support public-access programmer BronxNet, the New York Daily News reported.

The newspaper said BronxNet will get "millions in capital dollars" to open a second studio and training center in the borough and will receive more than $1 per subscriber per month in operational funds, up from 41.5 cents in a contract that expired in 2009. The paper said Bronx borough president Ruben Diaz Jr. brokered the deal between the programmer and Cablevision.

Cablevision is expected to get its Bronx franchise renewed soon, with a city committee slated to vote on it Wednesday, the newspaper (which follows N.Y.C. cable franchises closely) said. Diaz serves on the franchise committee and threatened to oppose Cablevision's renewal unless the MSO reached a new deal with BronxNet, the paper reported.

In a release from Diaz's office on Tuesday announcing the BronxNet agreement, Lisa Rosenblum, Cablevision executive vice president of government and public affairs, said: "Cablevision is proud of our history of providing every Bronx resident with access to the most advanced cable television, phone and high-speed Internet products, and of our more than 20-year record of support for BronxNet. We are pleased to have reached an agreement that continues our support of public access in The Bronx and are thankful for the strong leadership of Bronx Borough President Diaz in this process." 

BronxNet operates on the campus of Lehman College and is expected to add a second site under the new agreement. The public, education and government (PEG) programmer also is carried on FiOS TV in the borough under terms of a city-wide franchise secured by Verizon in 2008.

BronxNet executive director Michael Max Knobbe told Multichannel News: "We have reached an agreement with Cablevision that is fair and will allow BronxNet to upgrade technology and studios, while advancing the level of services we provide for Bronxites. We thank the viewers, access producers, students, organizations and community leaders that let their voices be heard in support of BronxNet."

He said FiOS TV currently programs six BronxNet channels, and that Cablevision also will provide six channel slots for BronxNet programming, up from the current four channels.